My Favorite Things About 2013

As promised I have a giveaway to do today!  Oh and I started a new blog site, hehe!  I love my old site, but wanted to try a new format and I have some new and exciting things planned for the year.  Today in addition to the giveaway I wanted to share with you some of my favorite things about this past year.  Yes I had some disappointments I won’t lie about that and some major struggles, but I choose to finish the year looking at the positives in life.

  • I started running: yeah no big surprise here that this would be one of my favorite things about the year.  Running has given me a lot over this last year and I am a better person for it.  Running helped me build my courage, gave me sanity when I felt stressed, increased my confidence, and helped my depression.
  • My RunGrrrls: that is the name of my local running group and they are an awesome collection of ladies from the Vegas area.  Each one of them loves running, each one of them is kind, and each one of them is wonderfully different.  I love the variety of the ladies in this group and look forward to many runs and races to come with them.
  • Blogging: I have a group of blogging ladies that I have connected with and they are definitely a wonderful supportive group.  Pamela, Suzanne, Toni, Sarah, Shira, and Kristen you are all awesome and inspiring. I love being a part of your fitness journeys, thank you.
  • My races: I finished several races this year starting the Scrambled Legs Running virtual race 10k (okay I did 13.1 for the heck of it but I don’t want to call it my first half), the Police and Fire Department 10k, the Teddy Bear Run 5k, the Recycled Run 10k, and the Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon.
  • My running gear: I LOVE two pieces in particular one being my Garmin FR70, which I am using to help track my mileage and to see how my pace is improving.  Secondly, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Swirlgear!  I have 4 pieces (so far) and they have done great in the warm and cold weather.  I have the pink hoodie, yellow short sleeve, black shorts, and the pink long sleeve.  In truth I have never been much for pink before, but I love the way these look.  The are water resistant, sweat wicking, and have reflective Swirls on them.  All of this brings me to my giveaway!

swirlgiveaway

Enter the contest by following the link to my Facebook page, the contest is open to US residents only (sorry).  http://tinyurl.com/kbx2mzb

  What are some of your favorite things from 2013?

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5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Health in the New Year

All day today I have been contemplating the upcoming year and goals or changes that I want to make.  I spent some time looking back at past posts and races and realized how far I have come. It was May of this year that I decided to take the plunge and train for a half marathon.  I wanted to run for so long, but was anxious about it because of my knees.  I also started studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer shortly afterwards.  Both major goals for me that I was nervous about but was able to accomplish.  Heck I even did two 10ks and two 5ks this year.

This year my focus is building muscle, learning to ride a bike, and completing a marathon.  I have to be honest, it may be the one and only marathon I ever do, I am not sure, but I want to be able to do it even just once.  I also want to work on my blog more, increase my clean eating, and am thinking of setting a mileage goal of 1,000 miles for the year all in an effort to continue to support my health (mental and physical).  So how about you, what type of goals do you want to set for the year when it comes to your health?  Or does the thought of setting long term goals make you nervous?
If you are struggling with figuring it out I have a few suggestions for you.  They are small changes that can add up to a healthier you in the end. 

  1. Focus on moving more each day; 10,000 steps is the goal or exercising most days of the week (4-5 days).  Don’t necessarily worry about a gym membership, if nothing else get a good pair of shoes and go for a walk.  When I was on vacation this week and running around the strip it really struck me how many people chose to take the elevator, escalator, and handicap ramps rather than the stairs.  Many of the people had no apparent reason they couldn’t have done the stairs I can guarantee the stairs would have helped burn off the calories they were eating/drinking.  Here are two Youtube links to check out with quick and easy exercises that you can do at home with little to no equipment: FitnessBlender & Fitknitchick
  2. Do something nice for yourself once a day.  Whether it is taking a nice stroll, taking time to read a chapter or two of your favorite book, or something manly that I just can’t think of right now.  It’s okay to take a little bit of time for you and will probably make you a nicer person for the people around you.
  3. Cut out at least one sugary or non water drink a day; if you normally have a few sodas a day (diet or full strength) or sports drink of some kind, replace one of those with water.  I won’t go into the reasons to not drink them at all, lets start small and realistic. Perhaps with lunch have a glass of water instead of your soda.
  4. Start eating breakfast; seriously it’s named for breaking the fast that you have had overnight.  I know many people just aren’t that hungry in the morning (I have never experienced this myself, but I hear it can happen), just grab a piece of fruit and nuts or toast with peanut butter.  It doesn’t have to be a huge meal, but fuel your body.
  5. Track your food intake for one week or for three days in one week. There are all kinds of handy aps you can use, but a pen and paper work just as well.  If you want to go all out and figure out the calorie intake do it, if not just write it down for a few days to give you awareness.

Do you have any helpful tips or small steps you are willing to take to help you get healthier in mind and body?

    Hydrating in the winter

    I don’t know about you, but for me it is MUCH easier to drink water in any other season but winter.  A prime example was today when I went on a group run.  I didn’t take any hydration with me and since I got up, got dressed and just went I didn’t drink any before hand either.  I’m grateful that there are two local running groups that actually have a water station on the trail my group ran on, otherwise I would have been in even worse shape.  As it is I felt a headache coming on at the end of my run and I am certain that my lack of energy was partially dehydration.

    According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine the recommendations for water intake are:

    • Sedentary men should consume (on average) 3 Liters and women 2.2 Liters of water a day.
    • We should consume 14 to 22 ounces of fluid 2 hours before exercise.
    • We should drink 6 to 12 ounces of fluid for every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise.
    • A fluid loss if even 2% body weight will adversely affect circulatory functions and decrease performance levels.

    I know that this sounds like a lot of water and there are a lot of other factors to think about when it comes to individual needs, but in general I know I have a hard time with this in the winter.  My drink of choice is coffee because I like the taste and want the warmth.  That being said I am going to make some efforts to be more mindful about this and wanted to share some suggestions for you to consider.  Please remember if you have doctors orders to follow them and even though I am a trainer I am not your trainer nor a dietitian, so please see a doctor or a dietitian of you need a specific plan.

    1. I’m going to drink at least one glass (16oz) of water before I consume any coffee in the morning and I will make it room temperature.  The cold water just isn’t appealing to me when I am already cold.
    2. I’m going to switch out some coffee for some decaf teas, there are a ton of flavors and I will take some with me to work so I have another option.
    3. I will start tracking my water on Fitbit.  Tracking helps us stay aware and stay honest about what we are doing and shows when and where we need to make improvements.
    4. I will make sure to drink at least one glass (16 oz) with lunch, dinner, and snacks.

    This is my plan to make sure I am staying hydrated even during the winter.  I know it’s important for my performance and training.  I want to do my best and frankly don’t want to have the physical problems that come with not consuming enough water. 

    What tips can you offer about staying hydrated in the winter?

    Looking for motivation

    I am having a very hard time getting myself motivated to do my long runs.  I’m struggling with even starting the marathon training to be honest and I am not sure why.  I want to complete a marathon at least once in my life, it was actually my dream first, not the half marathon, but I went for the half feeling it was more realistic for a first step.  I could honestly kick myself for not pushing through and continuing the marathon training once I finished my half.  I was on schedule to do 14 miles the next weekend, but then I got sick and it just didn’t happen.

    My race is April 26th, 18 weeks away from next week. I have been looking at the training programs out there trying to find one that will work with all the stuff I have going on in life.  It’s hard, because this is a huge commitment and I have a lot of those already.  If I had the room I would get a treadmill to put in my garage so I could use that and be nearby when needed.  The program I am going to try is different from Hal, good old Hal helped me get to where I got the half done, the man knows running.  This time though I am going to try Marathon Rookie because it will allow for slightly shorter long runs during the week and allows time to keep up with some of my strength training.  I have been working hard to get that habit going and I don’t want to lose it.  It’s also a 16 week program so I can fudge a little bit with miles next week and still get where I need to go.  After all next week is Christmas so I want a little down time.

    I hope that I can find my motivation or mojo soon.  If you have any suggestions or anything that has inspired you please share it, I would love to hear or see it.  Feel free to share on my FB page Formerly Fat Girl Running.

    Four things that might be hurting not helping your fitness journey

    Today I was talking with a friend about her current fitness journey.  She is trying to get herself together and lose some weight and she’s at a high number on that scale so she has a bit to go.  She knows my story and has seen the pictures and she wasn’t always this heavy so she knows that it is possible.  This fact is awesome as the belief in your ability to make change is one of the best places to start. As she was sharing her current realization it made me think about some of the traps that people fall into that actually hinder their attempts rather than help.  Often it’s things that are done in earnest and people have no ideas that they are making a mistake.  So I thought maybe I would share a few common mistakes to help you out in your journey:

    • Eating too little– Yes it is possible to eat so little that you actually cause yourself problems with losing weight.  I can’t tell you how often I and other people in the health and fitness field hear that “I only eat once a day I don’t know why I’m not losing weight” or something similar.  Your goals in weight loss or muscle gain will help dictate how many calories you eat, but if you don’t eat enough to fuel your body you may find that your body decides to hold on to every calorie you take in.  Think about it, if your body doesn’t know when it will get the next meal it will hold on to that food and save the calories for later because it thinks you are starving.  My friend for instance although she is looking to gain weight if she eats too little may have problems physically, mentally, and will slow her metabolism making it hard to lose.  See a dietitian or a doctor if you want to lose weight and are having trouble figuring this out. 
    •  Doing too much to quick– I am so guilty of this when it comes to the resistance.  I have no idea why it makes sense to build up with running, but I think I should be superwoman with resistance.  The other day I did an awesome workout, but I hadn’t done some of those moves #1 ever #2 in a long time.  I had a hard time walking for a few days I had a pain similar to after my half marathon.  I pushed too hard too quick and then couldn’t work out for two days.  You might feel some pain after working out, especially if you haven’t for awhile, but if you can’t move you’ve done too much.
    • Eating too much of a good thing– There are “superfoods” out there and they are foods that are good for you because they are dense with nutrients that we need, but…too much of any kind of food can lead to weight gain.  My friend Pam at Thrive Personal Fitness shares her insights on this and I will let you read her summary for more details, lets just say there is such a thing as too much hummus (I know blasphemy right?), The 5 Good for You Foods That Are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss
    • Not taking rest days– The days you rest major muscle groups are the days your body is actually building muscle.  Without allowing your body to rest it cannot repair the strain you put on it by challenging it with working out.  Over taining can lead to fatigue which leads to injury.  Your body also uses carbohydrates as it’s main source of fuel, this is one of the same nutrients your body uses to help support your immune system.  This is thought to be a reason why a lot of runners get sick after long distance races.  There was an interesting article in Runner’s World that provides a suggestion on how to still train, but take care of yourself. Remember that whether it is resistance or aerobic your body needs rest.  Bottom line let your body rest when it needs to and don’t use the same muscles to do the same exercises on a daily basis. Immune to it all- Runners World 

    These are just a few things to consider when starting to make some lifestyle changes.  We have enough tempting influences out there, it’s important to keep our motivation going and keeping from making some simple mistakes can help you resist the temptation to give up. Do any of these sound familiar or can you think of things that might have hurt your journey along the way?

    Getting super with supersets

    I am loving life!!!  Today has been an awesome and stress free day, I truly let myself relax and it has been awesome.  I don’t know about you all, but usually from the time I get up until I crash at night I am go go go!  Not so today, and it felt wonderful; I got what I needed done and a nice resistance workout as well.  Honestly the only thing that would have made it perfect was a mid day run, but I chose to let myself relax.  The other reason I hung out inside was to finally finish up with my own workout or fitness plan, something I have been putting off while studying.  Now that I am done I am putting my knowledge to use by using some supersets! So for all of you who might be wondering here is the plan:

    Monday: Chest/shoulder/triceps supersets- barbell bench press & stability ball pushups/shoulder press machine & single leg dumbbell scaption/supine bench barbell triceps extension & prone ball dumbbell triceps extension.  Also run one mile as a warm up and self myfascial release before and after along with active stretching. I plan to pay particular attention to a few of my tighter muscles like hip flexors that I know are affected by running.

    Tuesday: Run a minimum of 4 miles, preferably more depending on time; also 2 sets of reverse crunches and prone iso abs (aka planks).

    Wednesday: Legs supersets- barbell squats & single leg squats.  Also the running and stretching like above.

    Thursday: Run a minimum of 4 miles, preferably more. (Soon this day will get a little shorter for me so it should work great to get some mileage in.) Also 2 sets of reverse crunches and prone iso abs (aka planks).

    Friday: Rest day or cross training; it’s a long work day so I will have to play it by ear.

    Saturday: My long run day, the goal will always be for 8 miles or more; I have to start building up again in preparation for my marathon.

    Sunday: Biceps/back supersets- seated 2 arm biceps curl & single leg barbell curl/seated lat pull down & standing cable row.  Again all of the stretching and warm ups as stated above. Also 2 sets of reverse crunches and prone iso abs (aka planks).

    That’s the basic plan for the next 4-6 weeks, at that point I will have to take a look at modifying things to allow for more running, but keep building lean muscle mass. One of the things you need to look at when building your own program or getting assistance in building one is what is your goal?  Really that is the most important thing to look at.  For me the increased lean muscle mass is really important.  I am by no means fat, I hover between 145-150 and am generally good with that.  What I want to see change is that I have more body fat than I do muscle.  I want to be stronger and to have some nice definition.  There are so many options of exercises and how to lay your program out.  I picked some exercises that I enjoy, yet find challenging and the amount of sets/reps/load will change as I go along if needed.  Before you know it I will have my guns back and will be back on track to do a pullup.

    Some of the goals of resistance training beyond increasing lean muscle mass are also to increase stabilization endurance, increase prime muscle mover strength, improve overall work capacity, and enhance joint stabilization.  I chose using supersets because I like the challenge and want to increase my muscular hypertrophy and my muscular endurance.  All of these things will help me with running and more importantly (can’t believe I said that) is it will help me with my daily functioning as well.  There are plenty of ways to connect with a trainer to get some guidance for your goals.  I know several that do some online guidance and most gyms have certified trainers as well.

    As always I hope you have a great week and you got to get some food prep done this weekend.  Me, I made turkey chilli and I tried something new, I threw mushrooms in it.  I also put together some overnight oats, I threw in some pumpkin butter to give a nice taste.  They both smell great so here’s hoping they taste awesome too! Enjoy your Monday and I will see you all tomorrow. 😉 

    Changes for the upcoming year, are you ready?

    It has been awhile since I have posted on here and I have missed it horribly!  So many things were going on for awhile there and now it is winding down…for a tiny bit.  So if you follow my FB page you know by now (I’ve been sharing excitedly) that I took and passed the NASM CPT exam yesterday.  In other words I am now a Certified Personal Trainer!  And I honestly have gotten a ton of congratulations and a few, so what are you going to do with this???  HA!  I kind of saw that coming and I am still deliberating on this a little bit.  For now what it means is that I am a step closer to being able to address my patients with not just fighting addiction and using behavior changes to stop smoking, but to look at their overall lifestyle and treat them as a whole person.  For so many years I have addressed one part of the equation and now I am moving towards what it really means to be healthy, in body and mind.  I hope to get and help with weight support groups and helping people find the ways and confidence to exercise.  If you had asked me a few years ago if this would have happened or even seen me as a kid there is NO WAY you would have guessed this would happen. 

    All that being said, I have some other things to consider, if I want to try and do some online training for people or get some individual clients.  I am not sure about that right now, but one thing I do know is that I will be my first client.  Seriously, I have shared how lacking my resistance training is and now it is time to do something about it, no excuses I’m ready.  I will also be taking a look at my blog and adding or revamping some things.  I love having this knowledge, but what good is it if I don’t use it?  So I will put it to use and you to work!

    The other SUPER exciting news is I paid for my first marathon!  I am officially committed for it in April of 2014!  So before I know it, it will be time to step up the running mileage again, meaning that a plan of attack is extremely important.  It’s a pretty flat trail and outside my hometown so I look forward to having family there and friends to cheer me on.

    Finally, several months ago I shared my fear that I wasn’t going to pass (I felt it up until the guy said congratulations) and that when I passed I would take on another fear that I have had for years, bike riding.  I never really learned beyond the training wheels stag as a child.  For years I felt ashamed of this and was even laughed at because of it.  If nothing else this, my weight loss journey, and all the big changes I have had in the last several years has taught me that I can overcome the obstacles in front of me.  I was once told that fear stood for False Events Appearing Real, what is the worst that I might experience in trying?  Bumps and bruises or failure, but I will never know until I try. After Christmas I will get a bike and start learning how to ride.

    These are some of my plans I already have for the new year, no resolutions involved, just good solid and achievable goals.  Tell me, do you have any goals for the upcoming year?  Are you ready to start with some great goals? It’s almost the new year so it’s a good time to start thinking about it.  If you have some please share!

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